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[DNR] Park hunter’s death caused by lacerated liver
Start Date: 11/15/2011
End Date: 11/15/2011
Entry Description

ALBION – Indiana Conservation Officers have closed the investigation of a hunter's death at Chain O'Lakes State Park after the Noble County Coroner’s office ruled the death was due to a lacerated liver, possibly from an encounter the hunter had with a deer he shot.

Paul J. Smith, 62, of Fort Wayne, died Monday while participating in the deer reduction hunt at Chain O'Lakes.

According to Conservation Officer Erick Bolt of DNR Law Enforcement, Smith called his son shortly after 9 a.m. and left a voice message that he'd shot a buck. When Smith’s son returned the called around 10:30 a.m., Smith told him that after descending from his treestand to field dress and tag the deer, he discovered the deer was still alive. Smith told his son he scuffled with the deer before killing it with a knife.

Cpl. Bolt said Smith called park officials by cell phone at about 12:30 p.m. to request help in transporting a deer to the reduction hunt check-in station.

A park employee who went to retrieve the deer found Smith unconscious and seated against a tree and relayed Smith’s condition to park officials. Chain O’Lakes property manager Sam Boggs and Indiana Conservation Officer Darren Reed immediately responded. Reed was off duty but at the park as a participant in the deer reduction hunt.

Reed and Boggs attempted to revive Smith with a portable defibrillator but got no response. They initiated CPR until EMS first responders arrived and pronounced Smith dead at the scene.

The coroner’s autopsy revealed lacerations on Smith’s liver that were in line with internal bruising.

Contact Information:
Name: Phil Bloom
Phone: (317) 232-4003
Email: dnrnews@dnr.in.gov
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Entry Type:
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Entry Category:
  • Alerts and Notification
  • Announcements
  • IN.gov Category:
  • Agriculture & Environment
  • Agency Name
    Natural Resources, Indiana Department of

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